Companies have been working remotely for years, but the pandemic made it cool (too soon?). Most of us at Threads have been in and around virtual communities for decades. We use IG, Snap, TikTok, Reddit, Imgur and WhatsApp chat to connect with friends, Facebook’s version of friends and our wider interest groups.
So what happens when we’re suddenly using these same channels for our working relationships? Things can get blurry, and we can lose the borders between our professional and personal conversations. It also puts a strain on our well being because it becomes difficult to know when to switch off, or even how to.
Being digitally “on” all the time can leave you feeling overwhelmed. You are more likely to interpret communications and challenges negatively because you start to run low on your internal resources, and your patience. The social interactions you need outside of work become difficult to separate from the working day. It can mean you misjudge your responses and actions because you blend your personal identity and your work identity. I’m sure we can all think of a WhatsApp or email sent in frustration, that we regretted almost instantly!
There are two key principles to remember for your best remote Threads life.
- If you wouldn’t do it in person, don’t do it virtually
- Cameras on for video- or it’s a poor-quality phone call (in which case, call them- see number 7)
Once you have those embedded in your mind, read on for success!
8 ways to be an (even) better Threads community member
1. Be present visually & mentally
Make sure you’ve closed other tabs down and turned off notifications. When you’re in a group session, try to have your camera on so that others can read your body language. It’s hard to connect with people when you can’t see their faces!
2. Check the inner keyboard warrior
Most of us grew up with instant chat as a tool to speak to our friends. As we move into the online world at work, things get a little muddy. Check yourself before you send a message, and make sure the tone and content is safe for work (SFW)
3. Inclusion by design
Remember when we used to have a conversation in the kitchen and just the person you needed dropped by and took your idea to the next level? That is so much harder to create when we’re all in closed zoom calls. Be thoughtful about who should be in sessions, and what they’re for. A way to mitigate it is to ask for help from people, or for their opinion on an idea you have. It doesn’t have to be a meeting, it could just be a voice note, but you’d be amazed what happens when fresh eyes look at things! Bring back creativity ❤
4. Expressions don’t always express what you hoped for
We’re a multinational bunch, and sometimes our local expressions or abbreviations do not translate well. Think about your audience when you’re speaking or typing. Have you ever tried translating “cat got your tongue” or “cut off your nose to spite your face” into another language and back again?!
5. Space out so you don’t zone out
Back to back Zoom calls will leave you frazzled. If you’re the organiser, try and give people 15 minutes between their last meeting and yours. At the very least, it gives everyone time to grab a coffee, write down their notes and mentally prepare themselves for your session so they’re fully present
6. Bring back the phone call
Remember the 90’s when everyone had desk phones and no caller ID? It was WILD. Chat roulette every minute. But seriously, zoom fatigue is real. Not everything has to be a meeting or a zoom. If you follow the principles below and use phone calls to alleviate the zoom pressure, you’ll feel more engaged in them. There is research that says hearing someone’s voice helps you connect with them more than a text message (who’d have thought), so get dialling.
7. Be good to yourself- switch off the notifications
Did you know that by sleeping with your phone in your room, you’re mentally unable to switch off fully? Even when you’re asleep. You are the owner of your own destiny. Threads is 24 hours/7 days a week, but you’re not, and it’s important you protect your time when you’re not working.
WhatsApp and Slack have the option to put an image up and some text explaining you’re away. Part of your daily activities should be updating this to show when you’re available. A visual image of being “out of office” is a great tool. If you’re tempted to check your messages on a work phone, turn it to “do not disturb” mode. If your role requires an escalation point, make sure you ask someone to be that person whilst you’re out, or agree to an SLA with people so you know to only check in every few hours.
8. Assume positive intent
Miscommunication happens all the time. When you read or listen to something, you do so through the lens of your current emotions. If you’re feeling happy, you tend to read positivity, if you’re in a bad mood, its the opposite. If you find yourself assuming the worst, sit yourself down and think it through. Is it really likely that the individual is trying to make you angry or stop your inner peacock from flying? Is their some value in what they say? Take a beat, re-read it, and if it still sounds negative, pick up the phone and ask. Above all BE KIND and assume kindness.
Remote working is here to stay, and we need to become more comfortable navigating our own boundaries between our work and social environments. We all have different boundaries, and it is important that we recognise what these are. Threads also have a code of conduct at it’s important we remember this even when we’re not IRL or IRT.
By following the 8 steps above, you’ll be able to elevate your Threads community behaviour and we hope in turn will be able to help create a more engaging and welcoming environment for others. #bettertogether ❤